Digital Marketing

Leveraging Your Email Segments for Facebook

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Smart ecommerce marketers create something once and use it in as many places as possible. In today’s tech-forward world, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel every time you decide to market in a different channel.  

Two of your best tools – email and social – should be working hand in hand to deliver results, and one of the best places to start is targeting your audience. One of the best (and easiest!) ways to do that is by using your pre-existing email customer segments to find new high-value prospects through Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences.


Identifying The Right Customer Segments

Before we get to Facebook, let’s dig into email segmentation a bit. Segmenting your overall customer base and prospects into small, well-defined groups is a must-have to get the right message to the right people at the right time. In our recent email segmentation benchmark report, we analyzed over 2.5 billion of our customer emails and results. Across the board, highly segmented campaigns earn 3X the revenue per recipient (RPR) and result in 50% fewer unsubscribes on average than unsegmented email sends.


What do high performing segments look like? As you can imagine, they look different across different industries and different targeting schemes. Some common traits we discovered include:

  • targeted to 5% or less of the full email list,
  • defined by two or more conditions (eg. behavior, demographics, and timeframes),
  • target specific recipient behaviors, and
  • call out the specific timeframe (recency) of the behavior.

Targeting on behaviors is important. When you pull in data about the actions a person does or doesn’t take, you have a much better chance of triggering that person to act than if you’re simply sending based on an assumption about what they might do.

If I tell you to craft an offer for “every female in California”, you’re going to have a much harder time converting than if I tell you to craft the offer for “women in California who have purchased over $2000 total from the store in the last 6 months AND who purchased twice from the Young Professionals line in the last year.” Behavior targeting is where it’s at!

Hitting Two Targets With One Arrow

When it comes to using your tried and true email segments for Facebook, the best place to start is your VIP or high value customer (HVC) segments. These are the customers who have proven to be your most reliable sources of revenue.

VIP segments – often a grouping less than 10% of the full email list – perform exceedingly well. According to the Pareto principle, 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your customers. So it’s no surprise that creating small, highly targeted audience segments to attract this lucrative 20% is a good business decision.

One example of a high performing VIP segment from our benchmark report looked and performed like this:


The three most important things in the above segment are that it’s defined by:

  1. how many times the customer made a purchase,
  2. the total amount of all purchases, and
  3. that the behaviors happened within the last year.

This particular business segmented further by excluding additonal customers on pre-defined lists, but that’s just a cherry on top of a great VIP segment. Note that this list was an incredibly small segment of the company’s overall mailing list – yet this segment was one of the highest performing across thousands of email campaigns in this industry.

This segment WORKS for the business. It’s defined, it’s effective, and a smart marketer will want to reuse it. So do it! Marry your customer data with one of the largest databases in existence – Facebook – to sell to your existing customer base, and more importantly, find highly qualified prospects to convert into new customers.

Creating Facebook Audiences From Email Segments

When you integrate your email lists with Facebook, your list data automatically creates Custom Audiences in Facebook. Now those email segments you worked so hard to create, test, and optimize can open up opportunities in a whole new channel.

You can use Custom Audiences to send highly targeted ads to your existing customers, and impact your existing revenue sources. Some ideas for using Custom Audiences:

  • Winback: Target customers who haven’t purchased in awhile featuring popular/trending items
  • Re-engage: Target inactive subscribers with a relevant Facebook ad featuring items they’ve viewed on your site or featuring a limited time offer promotion
  • Cross-sell: Target customers who have bought one product (e.g. pants) with a different but complementary product (e.g. shirts)
  • New Customer: Target those that have visited your site but never purchased to encourage first-time conversions
  • Cross-Channel: Target those you’re already reaching by email with a relevant Facebook ad that reinforces the message and has a similar call-to-action (CTA)

The most exciting opportunity for discovering and converting leads is Lookalike Audiences. Create new leads that resemble your best customers’ interests and attributes. Because these new leads have all the characteristics of people who buy your products and services, you have a single system in Facebook that finds these highly qualified prospects and warms them with Facebook ads. Some ideas for Lookalike Audience ads:

  • Free trial, samples, or a big discount: Let them take your store or products for a trial run. You have a good hunch based on the segment matching that these audiences will be loyal to you – you simply need to get them to try you out first
  • Brand awareness campaign: Introduce your company, show some products, and promote content on your site
  • Site retargeting: Target lookalike customers who may have already visited your site. It’s like a segment of a segment

Bonus – creating these Facebook Audiences is easy to do!


Step 1: Choose Your Segment

As mentioned earlier, your VIP and HVC targets are perfect for Lookalike Audiences. These small but potent segments of your customers are keeping your business in the black. You know who they are and you know what messages work for them. Use this information to find prospects whose defining characteristics (interests, actions, demographics) match your VIPs’.

Step 2: Integrate Your Segment With Facebook

Make sure your marketing automation/email platform integrates easily with Facebook. It should take only a few clicks to integrate your email marketing with Facebook advertising; allowing you to both sync your email lists and segments with Facebook, and add subscribers who sign up via Facebook Lead Ad Forms to your marketing automation lists.

Step 3: Sync Your Existing Lists and Segments to Create a Custom Audience

Choose the segments you most want to target on Facebook. A good integration will ensure that as you change your lists and segments in one place (deleting and adding profiles), the lists will change in all sync locations. Klaviyo integration feeds real-time segment data directly to Facebook & Instagram, so your email lists always match your Facebook and Instagram lists.

Shop 4: Create a Lookalike Audience

Choose your VIP or HVC segment, click Create Audience, and then choose the country. Now choose the size of the audience you want to find, from 1-10%. You’ve already learned that smaller is better with segments, so be thrifty and start with 2-4% percent for limited budgets. If you’re working with large daily budgets and want to scale already profitable campaigns, look at a 5-8% range. But again, for most businesses it’s fine to start at 2%, assess, and build as your results indicate.

Go Forth and Market

Now you’re ready to attract prospects who resemble your most valuable customer audiences! Target this audience with the same introductory offer you would run on your website, except in order to receive it, all they need to do is fill out the form attached to your Facebook ads.

By combining your top customer segments with Facebook, you can create easy, automated data mining of the entire Facebook database. It lets you message your existing customers, and even better, return a list of perfectly segmented prospects for high conversion and high retention.


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